Your bad: Journal yanks paper for plagiarism and duplication, and points fingers

molecules-logoHere’s a warning to would-be plagiarizers: Don’t submit to the journal Molecules unless you have no problem being called out by name when you’re busted.

Consider: The journal is retracting a paper it published earlier this year after learning that the article contained verbatim text — and lots of it — from previously published papers.

The article, “Cytotoxicity and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of ethylsulfanyltriazoloquinazolin,” was written by a group that included Amira M. Gamal-Eldeen, of the National Research Center in Cairo, Egypt. Why single out Dr. Gamal-Eldeen, you ask? Read for yourself:

We have been made aware of the fact that a large proportion of the Introduction section and corresponding references of the title paper [1] had been copied verbatim from an earlier paper by Hamdy and Gamal-Eldeen [2], and further, during our investigation it has also come to light that most of the text in question had been lifted unchanged from an even earlier review paper by a different group [3]. The authors have been contacted, these facts confirmed, and Dr. Amira M. Gamal-Eldeen has been identified as the person responsible for contributing that part of the paper.

As a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), MPDI takes very seriously the responsibility to enforce a rigorous peer-review process together with strict ethical policies and standards to ensure the addition of high quality scientific works to the field of scholarly publication. In addition to an infringement of the Elsevier and American Association for Cancer Research copyright on the previous publications, this is also a clear violation of our policy to only publish new, previously unpublished material, so this paper is declared retracted and shall be marked accordingly for the scientific record. We cannot comment on any of the scientific data contained in the Molecules paper, which to the best of our knowledge is original.

We would like to apologize to our readership on behalf of the Molecules editorial team for the fact this event went undetected during the peer-review and pre-publication processing of the paper and for any inconvenience caused by this event.


1. Al-Salahi, R.A.; Gamal-Eldeen, A.M.; Alazani, A.M.; Al-Omar, M.A.; Marzouk, M.A.; Fouda, M.F.G. Cytotoxicity and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Methylsulfanyltriazoloquinazolines. Molecules 2013, 18, 1434–1446. Molecules 2013, 18 11002

2. Hamdy, N.H.; Gamal-Eldeen, A.M. New Pyridone, Thiopyridine, Pyrazolopyridine and Pyridine Derivatives that Modulate Inflammatory Mediators in Simulated RAW 264.7 Murine Macrophage. Eur. J. Med. Chem. 2009, 44, 4547–4556.

3. Lu, H.; Ouyang, W.; Huang, C. Inflammation, a Key Event in Cancer Development. Mol. Cancer Res. 2006, 4, 221–243.

0 thoughts on “Your bad: Journal yanks paper for plagiarism and duplication, and points fingers”

  1. Marcus,

    I was interested to read MDPI’s claim that “MPDI takes very seriously the responsibility to enforce a rigorous peer-review process … to ensure the addition of [only] high quality scientific works to the field of scholarly publication”. That is the exact opposite of what I have experienced.

    In my 18 months of encouraging the MDPI journal “Nutrients” to correct or retract its extraordinarily faulty and self-published “Australian Paradox” paper, it has shown absolutely no interest in either a “rigorous peer-review process” or of limiting the scientific record to “high quality scientific works” alone. Outrageously, it even wrote an Editorial against me for suggesting such a thing:

    I had a detailed conversation with MDPI CEO Mr Dietrich Rordorf about MDPI’s sub-standard Nutrients journal on your pages about a month ago – – but he seemed to go AWOL in terms of fixing the problem.

    In any case, I have written a detailed paper providing graphical evidence of the problems I have with the University of Sydney’s error-laden self-published efforts to exonerate sugary softdrinks as a key driver of obesity. Here it is:

    Readers, let me know if you strongly disagree or agree with anything in that document, which features my proposed Retraction Notice for the University of Sydney’s “shonky sugar study”.

    One hopes that MDPI’s Mr Rordorf eventually will stop vacillating and do the right thing on this matter.

    1. Isn’t it odd that a publisher that claims to do peer review (inviting at least 5 peers) and claims to use iThenticate software upon submission, and has such aggressive threatening notices about plagiarism FAILED to detect the plagiarism and self-plagiarism during such apparent “strict” revisions? Something’s not quite right here, or making sense. The authors are bad. But MDPI is also partly to blame for this failure to ensure QC.

  2. How can an author prove plagiarism and idea piracy if he suspects that a reviewer has rejected and plagiarized his work? And how can such an offense be remedied ?

  3. Re aceil’s ask – not too difficult – if you have submitted a paper there is a record of that – so now you have an earlier submission date – when the reviewer’s paper version you can contact the two journals involved (assuming not the same one) with your evidence. If they are respectable publications (ie not one where the reviewer is the editor or the publishers brother in law or some such thing – it happens) then they should investigate the matter (and the one where you submitted the paper knows who the referee is)

  4. Please note that the Eur. J. Med. Chem. article has STILL not been retracted, in spite of flagrant plagiarizing. Almost all the introductory section has been copied word-for-word from the Lu et al. article. Why is European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry doing nothing?

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